I’ve been reading “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg. In many of her essays, she stresses the importance of capturing moments as you write, catching details as a spiderweb would an insect. I’m given the impression that, for many writers, this is as much an act of self-care as it is an act of creativity.
I haven’t finished reading this book. By all accounts, I should have by now; I’m generally a fast reader, and I had Friday (as well as Saturday and Sunday) off. But of course, life has its ways, other interests come up, and your mother insists that you go out shopping.
The shopping was expensive, but at least my sister and I now have amazing articles of clothing that we can mix and match and share between us (provided neither of us gain weight; and let’s face it, the weight gain will be mine). Much besides, what is so wrong with discovering a pair of pants that somehow make you look tall? I say some clothes are just as magical as words.
In case it hasn’t become all that obvious, this is an attempt to capture the moments in my mind. I have a timer on a tab and I’m typing this right now; I’ll probably fix typos and nothing more afterwards before publishing. I’m trying to burrow into my bones and make sense of my marrow because, because, these days I am lost.
Yesterday, when Jie and I met at a bookstore so we can head to our romantic steak dinner together, he had to remove my office ID from my neck. I’d forgotten it was there; and I am now wondering how much I have let myself identify with my employers.
How much of me relies on them? How much of me is only valuable because of them? I wasn’t thinking about this while Jie and I were cutting into our 250-gram steaks, while he was complaining about the stupid things the hacker girl in the new McGyver TV show did. But I’m thinking about it now, and I’ve thought about it before.
In this moment my head is bent sideways as I try to stretch a crick on my neck away and I’m wondering why it’s not so easy to stretch as a person. Is it just me? Am I simply too calcified; am I made of bones with few joints? Am I devoid of the muscle of character?
Or is it because I have too much character? Am I impeding my own success with ethics, just as extreme bodybuilders impede a measure of movement with their bodacious biceps?
My mother certainly thinks so; she once mentioned that we are too nice to be truly great at business.
I don’t want to believe that, but at this moment I wonder how I would do without the direction an employer could give me and I draw a blank.
Or rather: I draw a scene with rhyme and rhythm and a pulsing at my wrists and feed a creeping terror that I am meant for poetry and that no one really buys poetry unless they are sap or angst or shoehorned into melody (none of which I’m good at).